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Photo of Basilica of Saints Bartholomew and Gaetano in Bologna

Visit Basilica of Saints Bartholomew and Gaetano in Bologna

The Basilica of Saints Bartholomew and Gaetona is a church in the centre of the historic town of Bologna, in north-east Italy.

Discover the Basilica of Saints Bartholomew and Gaetano

Italy This Way comment: although it is not the most important monument in Bologna, the Basilica of Saints Bartholomew and Gaetano is an interesting church with frescoes and domes in the renaissance style

History of the basilica of Saint-Bartholomew and Saint-Gaetano

It is thought that a church dedicated to Saint-Bartholomew stood in this location in the 5th century, perhaps built on the site of an even older church. What is more certain is that a modest church was here in the 13th century.

The basilica we see tody has its origins in the early 16th century, when the Gozzadini family started the process of rebuilding the church. This was soon interrupted, with only the porch completed, after the head of the Gozzadini family was murdered.

the main nave of the basilica of saint bartholomew and saint gaetano

The project restarted in the early 17th century, under the Order of the Theatines that had been founded by Saint-Gaetano, and with more ambitious plans, although the earlier porch was retained. The facade was changed so that it faced across Strada Maggiore instead of the Piazza di Porta Ravegnana.

The building was completed in 1694 - the belltower and the main dome were the last parts to be built - and the church dedicated to Saint-Gaetano.

The church has been dedicated as a minor basilica since 1924.

From the piazza, the basilica has a modest appearnce, with a red brick facade, a belltower with several levels, and a glimpse of the dome behind.

Inside the basilica of Saint Bartholomew and Gaetano, there is a main nave and two side naves, separated by carved marble columns with corinthian capital stones that create very large arches between the naves. It is these columns that transform the otherwise rather plain interior into something quite impressive.

 
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The ceiling and walls above the columns are covered with paintings, and there is a row of windows above these, allowing light into the nave, which would otherwise be quite sombre.

There is a large dome above the altar area. There are also smaller domes in the side aisle, that are attractive and also allow more light to enter the interior (you can also see these domes from the ouside of the outside of the church).

Despite these windows, we visited on a sunny day and it was quite dark inside the basilica - if you visit on a cloudy day I think it would be quite sombre!

The main frescoes in the apse of the church depict events from the life of Saint-Bartholomew, with the Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew in the centre. The main painting in the dome represents the Glory of Saint Gaetano.

You can see more 17th century paintings in the side chapels of the church: the most important of these is the Madonna with Sleeping Child in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament.

The organ in the basilica is also from the 17th century, although it has been repaired and altered several times since.

small domes in the side aisle of the basilica

Attractions nearby

The basilica of Saints Bartholomew and Gaetona is next to the Two Towers of Bologna, the most famous landmark in the city. See the Bologna guide for other attractions in the city.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Emilia-Romagna guide.

See also: 

Photos of Basilica of Saints Bartholomew and Gaetano in Bologna

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Map of Basilica of Saints Bartholomew and Gaetano in Bologna and places to visit

 
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Basilica of Saints Bartholomew and Gaetano in Bologna places to visit

Two Towers, Bologna

Two Towers, Bologna

The Two Towers in Bologna are two of the most imposing medieval towers remaining in the city

Two Towers, Bologna guide
Santo Stefano church, Bologna

Santo Stefano church, Bologna

On the site of a Roman temple, there are seven connected churches in Santo Stefano

Santo Stefano church, Bologna guide
Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Vita, Bologna

Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Vita, Bologna

The Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Vita includes a very impressive baroque church and a remarkable 15th century Lamentation of Christ artwork

Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Vita, Bologna guide
Basilica San Petronio, Bologna

Basilica San Petronio, Bologna

The Basilica San Petronio in Bologna is a large church with several impressive artworks and frescoes

Basilica San Petronio, Bologna guide
Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio

Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio

The Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio has a remarkable anatomical theatre and a 16th century library to see

Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio guide
Basilica of San Domenico, Bologna

Basilica of San Domenico, Bologna

The Basilica of San Domenico is a very large church in Bologna, with the Tomb of Saint Domenico and carved stalls among the highlights

Basilica of San Domenico, Bologna guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Emilia-Romagna

 
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